BLOOMFIELD, CT (WFSB) -- Nonprofit service providers are facing new challenges because of the coronavirus. Social distancing limits how they can meet with clients who need help with substance abuse, mental health issues and other needs.
While they're getting creative in how they provide services, they are still worried they can't reach all their clients, and of course, they also have concerns about their already tight budgets.
“We're seeing less of our clients obviously coming to our businesses, but we want to make sure that we're helping as much as we can,” said Kristie Scott, CEO of Perceptions programs.
Opioid addiction isn't slowing down during the coronavirus, and neither is the need to help inmates reenter society.
But the coronavirus is straining nonprofit organizations dealing with those issues.
“There are any number of things that are just critical that the state actually provides through a nonprofit system and that system needs to be supported to get us through this,” said Fernando Muniz, CEO of Community Solutions.
The Bloomfield organization runs halfway houses for adult inmates, as well as for juveniles. So, not everyone can work from home.
“Our staff are very nervous, I mean people are very concerned,” Muniz said.
Other nonprofits are figuring out how to serve their clients without office visits.
Scott’s Perceptions Programs provides substance abuse and mental health counseling. Some of this can be done electronically, but Perceptions also works with the homeless.
These are issues all nonprofit service providers are dealing with.
The head of the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance said in a statement “Connecticut’s community nonprofits that contract with the state are providing front-line services like mental health and substance abuse treatment, residential and day services for people with developmental disabilities, homeless and domestic violence shelters that are needed even more in these challenging times."
At the same time, these organizations are dealing with both rising costs and dropping revenues.
“Nonprofits were not properly funded before this crisis started, and the services are just going to be at a breaking point,” Muniz said.
They see new costs for additional equipment, and even safety gear for some employees who still have contact with patients. At the same time, fewer appointments means less fees coming in. And some insurers pay less to telehealth than for in office visits.
Still, nonprofits say they will continue to work through it all.
“The good thing about nonprofits is we stick to our mission and we try to help our clients,” Scott said.
Channel 3 reached out to the governor's office to see if the state is planning to offer any help but they did not respond.